We have talked here about this contest by the second biggest French magazine one that involves its readers.
The contest has nothing to do with the European boat of the year and its way less interesting. They have no categories and put all boats in the same bag and that makes not much sense.
Also while on the European boat of the year the testers are all top professionals with a huge knowledge of the boats on the market, having sailed a huge number of them, here some few professional testers are mixed with many sailors that are far away from having that knowledge.
Anyway, the boat they end up choosing is always a good boat and the information we can take (many times reading between the lines) having so many new boats on the water at the same time is very interesting.
I found this year's contest particularly confusing but with some surprising revelations, for instance:
They had on the water the new Oceanis 38, the cheap Varianta 37 and the Bavaria 37 with light wind conditions. The Varianta was way faster than the other two boats and that probably took away any possibility for an Oceanis 38 win but the Varianta did not pass top the 2th round of the contest: It had an older hull and the finish was not very good (even if better than the Varianta 44)
Another surprise, they had on the water the Xp33, the Pogo 30, the Sunfast 3600 the Mat 10.10 and the new version of the J122.
About that they say (the translation is mine): "the J122 leads the way but the Sunfast 3600, the Mat 10.10, Xp 33 and Dehler 38 are not far away. The J88 is comfortably sailing among the big boats and on the first downwind ride with spinnaker we noticed that the Django goes with ease notwithstanding being one of the smaller boats. The Italia 13.98 that had started later come from behind and overtake everybody."
It is good to remember that we are talking about light conditions (6/8K) where the bigger boat is not necessarily the faster boat. On this case it was and that says a lot about the YT 13.98 that with its luxury interior an all is a hell of a sailing boat even on light wind (the boat was one of the 2013 European boats of the year - Luxury class).
What is more strange about that description about boat performance it is not what it is said but what it is not said: Where the hell is the Pogo 30 or the RM 1360?
Well, there it is the Pogo 30 (the translation is mine):
"Two boats are passing the buoys together, the Pogo 30 and the Winner 900????. Two boats with a very different conception: The Pogo 30 with a beamy modern powerful hull with a simplified interior and the winner with a much more classic hull with a much better interior. Unfortunately we could not judge definitively the performances between the two boats because the winner had not a spinnaker on board."
The Pogo 30 and the Winner 900 side by side? Who would say
But the winner 900 did not pass to the 2th round (the Pogo had passed): like the Xp33, the Astus 20.2 and the Lagoon 39 they could only stay one day available, so they were excluded.
Anyway I would say that the performance of the winner 900 was absolutely remarkable for a boat with a great cruising interior.
Regarding the contest, the jury decided to eliminate all boats that had a hull already used on a previous version. It does not make any sense to me. If it was so why had they invited the boats to a contest where they would be forcefully eliminated? That was the case with the J122 and the Varianta.
The Dufour 410 was out "for lack of enthusiasm", the Bavaria 37 "did not manage to convince" the Iy 13.98 "because it had a rudder not very sensitive and was too expensive", the MAT 10.10 was eliminated God knows why. they say: "The Mat 10.10 was another case...having conquered the regatta sailors by its very good performance in light winds". It is difficult to understand how the boat could have conquered them in strong winds if they had not strong winds while testing and why the boat was eliminated.
Anyway the boats that passed to the second round were the Dehler 38, the Oceanis 38, the Sunfast 3600, the Rm 1360, the J88 and the Pogo 30.
All French boats except one, the Dehler 38 (the J88 is made in France) and that was surprisingly the one that had won by a large margin and I think that means a lot, I mean French sailors choosing a German boat? Only with very good reasons.
When I first talked here about the Dehler 38 I have said:
"..this was one of the surprises and a good one. Contrary to the 41 (that was also there and that I visited too) the interior of the boat is very good. Not that the 41 has bad quality on the finish but the difference in design quality is huge.
A very beautiful boat with good storage space and a very clever and innovative head. In fact they managed to solve on the two cabin versions the access to the second cabin in a brilliant way and it works visually with the advantage of separating the toilet in two parts, one with an isolated head and shower, the other with the toilet part. Very clever and very functional.
... The boat is very stiff with a very good B/D ratio (32%) taking into consideration the very efficient keel. The rigging is well done (as in all Dehlers). You have only to chose between the one they call competition (C) and the standard version. But don't let the words mislead you, competition my ass, what you really have is a cheaper version and a more expensive one. ..
The main difference has to do with an epoxy cored hull with a synthetic core versus a balsa cored boat with regular resins. Probably also a wire rig versus a rod one and I don't know if the standard one has lead as ballast."
.. It seems to me a great boat, much better in what regards interior than the 41. .. I guess it is going to sell very well, and deserves it. Contrary of other boats on this segment the boat can be delivered in two versions, with two or three cabins,
A two cabin version is the way to go in what regards extensive cruising and will provide all storage space needed.
What can I say more? A beautiful and fast boat with a great stability that will be sold in two apparently equal versions, one very accessible and another one expensive. One will have a lead keel, epoxy cored hull over airex (or similar) a bigger mast and the other one will have a cored hull with normal resins over a balsa core, Iron keel, smaller mast.
The first one will be enough for most cruisers and I expect it to be the most sold by far. Regarding competition the main one will be from the Salona 38, a more traditional boat in the hull and interiors that regards price has a version correspondent to the basic one from Dehler cheaper and has a version correspondent to the top one from Dehler at the same price as the basic Dehler version. The Salona will have the added advantage of the stainless steel keel structure for the keel and shrouds but I never heard any complaints about Dehler solidity.
Have a look:
The Dehler 38 won by a big margin, 27 points while the second, the J88 had 18 and the third, the Sunfast 3600 had 17. We cannot say that these guys have choose the Dehler 38 because they favor cruising boats. I remember that last year the boat that had won was the J 111.
It seems that it is not only me that considers the Dehler 38 a great sailing boat
A new look at the main test sail video on the web:
But if you want to have a really perfect nice boat ask for one without that bath platform. See hoe much the boat look more lighter and elegant without it: